The Cities & Gardens Boutique Suites is located at a beautiful spot in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The building consists of a coffee shop; eight boutique rental suites; and a rooftop garden. The site is consisted of two identical land lots of 3.8x22.0 meter each with view to a small parkland. The building is divided into two adjoined parts as each land lot is owned by one of two owners who are also brothers. The first part was built 6 months ahead of the other one due to the financing of the owners. Moreover, the design brief also asked for a relative independence between the two buildings in terms of structure and circulation.

Saigon is a city of multi-culture and opportunities. The city welcomes millions of visitors from all around the World to experience the culture, enjoy the city life and look for opportunities every year. In another aspect, as an unavoidable consequence of poorly controlled development, the green spaces of the city have been sacrificed dramatically to give way for big building and infrastructure developments.

We proposed the concept of “Cities & Gardens” with the intention to create a building that not only reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the city life but also engages and connects with the refreshing nature at the same time. The exterior and interior spaces were designed with conceptual inspirations drawn from some notable cities around the World and natural elements in both direct and imaginative ways while the built-forms of the two adjoined parts are coherent as a whole at the same time.

Instead of a big and bulky building with maximum net floor area, we proposed a 5-meter set-back at the front and 2-meter void at the back in order to ensure sufficient cross ventilation on all levels of the 15-meter long building. The setback also gives space for a landscaped courtyard with big trees and outdoor furniture on the ground level. The building façade is consisted of a series of angled blocks, each block is completed with a distinctive design to express the diversity and individuality of the suites while also maintains a consistent built-form. The interior space of each suite also has a unique design with the creative use of forms, materials, colors and details.

The Tokyo Home is a tranquil space with design inspirations and experience learned from traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture which is expressed by unique materials and elements such as the multi-purpose Tatami room, Shoji screens and timber ceiling. The balcony is designed as a small Japanese garden with yellow bamboo, white stone and a peaceful view to the tree canopies.

The Parisian Suite re-imagines the romance and poetics of the timeless Paris architecture in a modernized way with high ceiling, curving walls and vaulted doorways in combination with stone claddings, polished wooden floor, nice curtain and fabrics made a luxurious and elegant living space. The balcony is designed as a small French rose garden with beautiful view to the parkland.

The Earth Garden was designed in Vietnam vernacular style with the inspiration from the Earth, a vital natural element. Local and traditional materials such as cement tiles in different shades of earthy colors, natural wooden cabinetry, bamboo screens and ceramic furniture were used throughout the interior space with decent craftsmanship. The spacious balcony is an amazing outdoor space that opens the pleasant views to the leafy park and the city skyline.

Located on the third level of the building, the Copenhagen Attic overlooks the peaks of big pine trees and the cityscape. The interior space was designed to imply the warmth and coziness by the use of oak wood floor and furniture as well as high-quality soft furnishing. The balcony is finished in water-proofed composite wood panels and provided with various plantings.

The Waterspace was designed with the inspiration from the imaginative water. The interior space was built in dynamic forms and finished with contemporary materials such as water-like patterned resin flooring, curving plywood cabinets, crystal mosaic tiling as well as glass and polycarbonate furniture. The spacious balcony is an amazing outdoor space that opens the pleasant view to the outside.

The Loft is a double space suite located on the fourth level of the building. The space is split in 3 levels connected by steps: the lowest level consists of the lobby, kitchen and dining area; the living area is positioned on the second level while the bedroom and private bathroom dominates the mezzanine level. The sensible use of industrial and raw materials such as exposed concrete slabs, white-painted brick walls and black-painted iron reimagine the popular 1950s lofts in New York City.

The Forest Lodge suite is located at the same level with the Loft. Wood is used throughout the interior space such as kitchen cabinetry, wardrobe, flooring, partitions as well as loose furniture to create a cozy and nature-friendly living space. The feature element of the Woods is a big forest-like garden filled with various plantings, a big Frangipani tree, outdoor furniture and a large pergola above.

The Saigonese Terrace is located on the top level of the building. The interior space is sensibly finished with traditional and local materials such as floral-patterned cement tile, white terrazzo, wooden cabinets and bamboo screens in order to re-create the Saigon’s traditions in a contemporary setting. The boundary between indoor and outdoor is blurred thanks to the full-height wooden-framed glass doors which give access to a big terrace. The terrace is a reimagination of the traditional Southern Vietnam garden with a stepping planter for local herbs, vegetable and a star-fruit tree.

Finally, we have introduced a series of community spaces into this boutique building. The guests are invited and welcomed to use the communal spaces, including the landscaped courtyard; rooftop terrace and BBQ area; and a multi-purpose space on level 5, at anytime and in planned events hosted by the management. Moreover, the café and co-working space downstairs also gives to guests a convenient space to relax, have a cool drink, work on their laptop, share the table, and meet each other occasionally. This concept of “generating a community” in the small-scale boutique building enhances the connection between people who are temporarily living under one roof and willing to communicate and share with the others, also expresses the unique and vibrant lifestyle of Saigon, the city of multi-culture, diversity and opportunities.

2016

2018

Site area: 167.2 m2
Total floor area: 810 m2
Number of floors: 07
Building height: 24.4 m
Main structure: Reinforced concrete
Functions: Boutique rental suites, café & co-working space, rooftop garden
Exterior finishes: Reinforced concrete, aluminum frame – glass infill glazing, composite wood panels.
Interior finishes: Exposed concrete, various tiling, laminated timber floor, wood, resin floor, etc...

Design: ROOM Design & Build
Design Team: Vinh Phuc Ta (Project Leader), Casa Yen Nguyen, Cong Dat Nguyen, Hieu Hien Trinh, Kim Quy Nguyen
Construction: ROOM Design & Build
Photographer: Sonmeo Nguyen Art Studio

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